Charlotte's version of the "King of All Media," AKA Brotha Fred, calls his move to Chicago "bittersweet."
While he jumps from the nation's 24th largest radio market to No. 3, he says he's a fan of Charlotte.
"I didn't think this city would provide so much opportunity for me," says Fred, 29 (real name: Christopher Frederick). "It's been a great town. It really has."
Though he's off for the rest of the year on a planned vacation, he will continue to do his morning show on WIBT-FM ("Channel 96-1" 96.1) next year from Chicago. Sidekick David L is going with him and Angi Taylor, a Chicago radio personality, will be the third member of the team.
Never miss a local story.
They will broadcast the show for Chicago at WKSC-FM and do local inserts for Charlotte. In the WIBT-FM studios, they'll also keep "AM Mayhem" cast members Holly Robson and Jase "Cubby" Squires.
"AM Mayhem" is syndicated to stations in Greensboro and Chattanooga, Tenn., under a similar arrangement.
"A lot of the content is universal," says the indefatigable Frederick, and then some local chatter is mixed in. "We do a lot more local than some of our syndicated competitors do."
Both the Charlotte and Chicago stations are owned by Clear Channel Radio. Frederick also exports programs for various time slots to nine Clear Channel stations, in cities including Dallas, Phoenix and Milwaukee.
For the last two years, he has done a show on XM satellite radio's "Kiss" channel. And for the last four, he has co-starred with Morgan Fogarty on "Fox News Edge" weeknights on WCCB ("Fox Charlotte" Channel 18). He makes public appearances and has hosted halftime shows for the Charlotte Bobcats.
Radio was always Frederick's passion. Even as a kid in Scottsdale, Ariz., his idea of playing was pretending to be a DJ.
He was at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, an English major contemplating a career in law, when he started working at the college station. Someone on a local station heard him and brought him aboard the night shift.
So much for law school.
Frederick hit Charlotte in July 2006 from Austin, Texas, and immediately established himself as the alpha-male of the city's media herd.
His high-energy approach punched through the microphone from the start. It quickly lifted WIBT-FM ratings, bringing the first serious challenge in years to longtime leader WNKS-FM ("Kiss" 95.1) for the 18-to-34 crowd that advertisers covet.
"He is so ridiculously talented and has the best work ethic of people twice his age," says Frederick's boss, Bruce Logan, Clear Channel regional programming vice president.
"This guy is what I think Ryan Seacrest is. What he has done for himself, the radio station and Fox Charlotte is impressive."
Frederick's workload isn't expected to slack off much. He says eventually there may be a television deal there similar to his Charlotte gig.
"I haven't slept in four years. I sleep on the weekends."
Following the ABCs
Investigative reporter Stuart Watson has been covering Alcohol Control Board issues for a decade.
Tonight, he will get a half-hour for a news special (7 p.m., WCNC, Channel 36) on the topic, "Bamboozled, A Story of Liquor and Money" that looks at perennial problems in the ABC system.
"Anyone from out of state doesn't understand this at all," says Watson. "North Carolina is the only state in the union with local politicians running the liquor monopoly."
And the monopoly is messed up, he says.
Junkets to resorts for liquor boards and lavish meals paid by distributors are part of the story. So is a look at operational efficiency.
Watson, the Charlotte reporter who broke the Gloria Pace King-United Way scandal in 2008, compares ABC sales in Wake and Mecklenburg counties, which have systems about the same size.
"Their overhead is more than $6 million less than ours. They run a similar size system for $6 million less - our costs are 48 percent more. ... They have one manager who makes a six-figure salary. We have four."
He also focuses on a new ABC store near SouthPark, which was built in a Ruby Tuesday's. Watson says the board spent about a half-million dollars to create the store and pays almost $200,000 in annual rent with the hopes of increasing sales and competing with stores across the border.
"Sales at nearby ABC stores are down 13 percent," says Watson. "And their sales have been next to lowest among all 25 stores. ... They say they have to do it to compete with South Carolina, but they are unable to demonstrate that having a fancy liquor store where the bottles are lit like perfume can compete with Frugal MacDoogal's."
Yule log to reappear
For the fifth straight year, WMYT (Channel 55) will carry "The Yule Log," 20 hours of video of a crackling fire with Christmas carols to provide background for holiday activities. It will begin at 4 p.m. Friday and run until noon on Christmas.
At WKQC-FM ("K" 104.7), morning host Jo Jo Morales will leave at the end of the month after a year in the job. He is returning to Atlanta where he has family. ... Paul Schadt, morning host on WKKT-FM ("Kat" 96.9), was named best country host at the Charlotte Music Awards. ...
Former WSOC (Channel 9) reporter Kala Rama joins the CBS affiliate in Orlando. ... WBTV (Channel 3) meteorologist Jim Lytle returns to the air after recuperating from injuries suffered in a car crash. ... Chris Wolf, formerly of WIS-TV in Columbia, is named director of programming and creative services for WJZY (Channel 46) and WMYT (Channel 55) ... Brevin Knight, former radio analyst for the Bobcats, is an analyst for the Memphis Grizzlies' television games on Fox Sports South. ...
Darla Thomas becomes program director of WLYT-FM ("Lite" 102.9), arriving from Journal Broadcast Group in Tucson, Ariz. ... Rebranding at WIBT-FM (96.1), formerly "The Beat." Now it's "Channel 96-1," reflecting its change from rhythmic contemporary to more mainstream top 40. It still leans toward rhythmic music to differentiate it from key competitor WNKS-FM ("Kiss" 95.1).